CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians Authentic Joey Bosa Jersey , who are in first place in the American League Central Division, are in the midst of a portion of their schedule in which they have an opportunity to lengthen their division lead, or see it evaporate — quickly.
Saturday at Progressive Field the Indians will host the division-rival Minnesota Twins in the second game of a three-game series. Saturday’s game will be the Indians’ ninth game in a 16-game stretch in which they will play only AL Central teams. In the first eight games in that span the Indians are 4-4, including a 6-3 loss to the Twins Friday night.
Overall this season the Indians are 18-12 against AL Central teams, including 11-3 at Progressive Field. The Twins are 15-10 against AL Central teams, and 5-2 against Cleveland.
Both teams made roster moves prior to Friday’s game. The Indians activated outfielder Tyler Naquin off the disabled list and placed first baseman Yonder Alonso on the family medical emergency list. Naquin was in the lineup Friday and played center field. He went 1-for-3 in his first game since being placed on the DL on May 11 with a strained left hamstring.
The Twins on Friday activated first baseman Joe Mauer off the disabled list and recalled infielder Taylor Motter from Triple-A Rochester. Mauer and Motter replace infielder Miguel Sano, who was optioned to Class-A Fort Myers, and outfielder Jake Cave, who was optioned to Rochester.
“It’s really been bothering him that he hasn’t been contributing while we’ve been losing. His biggest goal is to win,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune regarding Sano. “Some things have knocked him off course from time to time, and it’s time to address them.”
Mauer missed 25 games with a cervical strain/concussion-like symptoms. Motter was claimed off waivers from Seattle on May 28 and hit .167 (7-for-42) at Rochester.
Although the Indians are just 6-7 in June, they are encouraged by the improved work by their bullpen, which was the American League’s worst over the first two months of the season. However Womens Joey Bosa Jersey , in the month of June, the Indians’ 2.30 bullpen ERA ranks fifth. Two new additions, left-hander Oliver Perez and right-hander Neil Ramirez, have been key contributors in the bullpen’s resurgence.
“We were hoping that with an opportunity to pitch for those guys, good things would happen, and that’s what happened,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Perez has helped a lot, and Ramirez has some swing and miss stuff. Things are definitely settling down (in the bullpen).”
The pitching matchup Saturday will be a pair of right-handers: Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco vs. Minnesota’s Fernando Romero.
Carrasco (8-4, 3.90 ERA) is coming off his best start of the season, a 4-0 win over the White Sox on June 11. In that game, Carrasco pitched seven scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and recorded 11 strikeouts with one walk.
Carrasco has started two games against the Twins this season and is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA. In 19 career appearances (16 starts) against Minnesota, Carrasco is 5-7 with a 3.97 ERA.
The 23-year-old Romero (3-2, 3.92) will be making his ninth major league start and his first against Cleveland. Romero’s last start was a 7-5 win over the Angels on June 10. Romero pitched five innings in that game Authentic Melvin Gordon Jersey , giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits, with five strikeouts and two walks.
Romero’s rookie season started well but has been bumpy in recent starts. In his first three starts he was 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA. But in his last five starts he is 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA.
HOUSTON — For a third consecutive start on Sunday, Houston Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole encountered a stretch where he wrestled with his control, a span of innings that called for his battery mate to help steer him through the rough patch and into smoother waters.
Cole needed 33 pitches to post a scoreless first inning, and while he logged a season-low-tying five innings in the Astros’ 11-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals, Cole was effective enough to pick up his ninth victory of the season and produce a line than plenty of pitchers would envy.
Cole allowed only one run, two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. Despite a challenging start, Cole rebounded and retired the side in order in the third and fifth.
The backstop — Max Stassi caught Cole on Sunday — is responsible for helping the starting pitcher navigate trouble.
Veteran Brian McCann will likely be back behind the plate on Monday when the Astros open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park.
“You’ve got to try and find whatever the correction pitch is,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “If a guy’s delivery is one way you might find a correction pitch to get him kind of locked in. You have to keep going to the secondary pitches even if he doesn’t have a feel for it until it clicks for him. You’ve got to keep going to the well as much as you can to hopefully where he finds it.
“Whether that’s rhythm or timing of pitches, every pitcher has a key that will get him back in line with his delivery, his arm action, and his execution. You’ve got to find that by how you sequence your pitches along with attacking the hitter. It’s a nice challenge for the catcher.”
Right-hander Justin Verlander (9-2, 1.60 ERA) will start the series opener for the Astros (52-27). Verlander suffered a defeat in his lone start against Toronto last season Womens Melvin Gordon Jersey , allowing three runs, three hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-2 setback on July 14 with Detroit.
He is 3-5 with a 4.67 ERA in 12 career starts against the Blue Jays.
Verlander leads the American League in ERA, WHIP (0.78), opponent batting average (.164) and OPS (.506), and is tied for second in innings (107) and ranks fourth with 130 strikeouts.
The Blue Jays will counter with left-hander J.A. Happ (9-3, 3.56 ERA) on Monday. He is 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight career starts against Houston, with whom he spent parts of three seasons (2010-12) and compiled an 18-28 record and 4.84 ERA in 59 starts.
Happ allowed six runs (two earned), seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts in four innings of a 19-1 loss to the Astros on July 9 at Rogers Centre.
Happ is 5-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 46 innings during his last seven starts.
Toronto (36-41) split its four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels with a 7-6, 10-inning road win on Sunday. The Blue Jays are 6-6 in their last 12 games and were last above .500 on May 16.
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